Guest Author - Debbie Striker
The Artist’s Way and other books by Julia Cameron have become classic reads for anyone in need of digging themselves out of deep artistic blocks. In The Artist’s Way, Cameron shares her insights and experiences as an artist and teacher.
Serious creative blocks build up over time and often take some time to explore and remove. Her 12 week program takes you by the hand and guides you through the process of exploring the blocks and unearthing your unique path.. Her work includes suggestions and exercises that encourage you to explore how you create and what level of importance your give your create self.
Cameron’s work seems to either bring great excitement and applause or huge negative reactions. I suspect this is due to her instance in putting your work in the hands of “God” or a higher power, as well as the overall theme of the book being very similar to a 12 set recovery program. Her personal experiences as an alcoholic definitely color her words and guide her ideas, however, for those who are having serious issues connecting with their creativity, this book can be quite helpful.
Much of the advice in this book can be used not only for unearthing your creative self but also finding out what is important to you and clarifying the things you should focus on daily. The most helpful activity I have found personally are the “morning pages”. Cameron suggests that you start every morning writing 3 pages of long hand. This is often referred to stream of consciousness writing and can be a cathartic process as well as revealing insights that you may not tap into easily without this tool.
There are encouraging quotes and words throughout the book that help the reader get through the frustrating moments and gives you examples of what others have experienced on their journeys. She encourages everyone to embrace their creative selves and live their lives to the fullest.
The biggest block we seem to throw in our own way is a lack of money. Here is a quote from the book regarding money: “What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful and the work we do feels like play to us.”
Like all 12-step recovery programs, which this book is, it is most helpful for those in need of a strong guiding hand and step by step instructions. If you are creating every day and feel happy with your life and what you are producing, you may still find some gems of wisdom within the book that you haven’t considered before. Having gone through the entire program several years ago, I still refer to the book occasionally to provide insights and remind myself how to make my creativity a priority.